The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
published by Harper Teen in July 2013
Money can't buy a good first impression.Genre: Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she's smart enough to know his interest won't last. Because if there's one thing she's learned from her mother's warnings, it's that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander's loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?
Nath: So, so, so Ames! What did you think of The Distance Between Us? :P For me, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but in the end, I did enjoy this book :)
Ames: I know what you mean. I was kind of thinking it would be a bit of a miss for me because of the wealthy/not wealthy aspects of the story. But luckily, I enjoyed it. I mean, I had some issues, but overall I enjoyed it.
Nath: Nod nod, I had a few niggles as well, but more on that later! Why don’t we start with the good aspects of The Distance Between Us? :) One of them for me was the characters. There was a nice cast of characters although I have to say, Cayman and Xander made the book for me :) I liked that they were flawed which made them feel more realistic.
Ames: Yes, I really enjoyed the characters as well. Cayman has that sarcastic sense of humour that I get so well. And Xander. He was a good character as well. He was not what Cayman was expecting and I liked that. He wasn’t a stuck up rich kid. He was genuinely nice and definitely yummy. I also liked Cayman’s friend and the band members.
Nath: That’s actually what was so interesting between the two! Xander was genuinely a nice and yummy young man... but he’s had a privileged upbringing. And while he didn’t lord it over Cayman, there were still instances where it showed. Like not knowing where stuff were in his own kitchen, the beckoning movement, etc. It doesn’t make Xander a bad guy because his family is rich and I’m glad that’s how Ms West portrayed it. I’m also glad that Cayman wasn’t embarrassed by her own lifestyle. That she wasn’t over-conscious about being poor. In a way, Cayman and Xander saw each other as equals and that was very refreshing. That’s why the book worked so well and made their romance believable :)
Between, I also liked Cayman’s friend and the band members :) Although they didn’t have such a big presence, Ms West was able to show that there is more underneath the surface, that there is depth :)
Ames: The other thing I liked about Cayman and Xander were the ‘non-dates’ they had. Their excuse to hang out with each, by finding out what potential careers they could have, I thought that was cute and something that could happen in reality.
And now the good stuff, what didn’t you like? LOL
Nath: LOL, okay. This is not a real big issue, more like a niggle, but I thought Cayman and Xander should have been college-age instead of high schoolers. The whole emphasis on their career was actually quite interesting and I think, something real that people really face… but the way Cayman and Xander behaved, some of the stuff they actually did, it seemed a bit too mature for 16-17 years old. Just one or two years older would have made it better in my opinion… especially in Xander’s case since his father is pushing him into the family business. By the way, I liked that the parents were present in The Distance Between Us and that Cayman and Xander actually had interactions with them.
Ames: I agree. I thought Xander acted way older than his age. For Cayman, she was very mature, I felt like she tried to put a lot on her shoulders, trying to help her mom out. I liked that the parents were present in the story as well. But that was one of the things that frustrated me - Cayman’s mom. She had some big secrets and it bothered me that she was trying to hide stuff from Cayman.
Another thing was the grandparents that showed up at the end of the story. I felt like things were left unsaid between them and Cayman and with her mom too. There needed to be a heart-to-heart somewhere in the ending and we didn’t get one.
Nath: I kind of understand why Cayman’s mom kept some secrets - at least, the business ones - from Cayman. Cayman already shouldered a lot of the responsibilities, knowing how badly the business was doing… In a way, she was just trying to protect her daughter. The secret concerning her background though, she definitely shouldn’t have hidden it. I think there’s just so much you should do because of pride… Depriving your daughter from good grandparents and a better lifestyle, I don’t think it was worth it.
I agree with you about a heart-to-heart talk. I think there should have been an epilogue or something more. Perhaps there will be a sequel? Otherwise, my only other complaint about The Distance Between Us was Tic… not the character, but his relationship with Cayman. It was just too vague… He was like the third party, but without really being one because I don’t think Cayman was really interested in him… I think Ms West should have either left it out or really make him into a love rival for Xander, not the in-between stage that it was.
Ames: Tic was interested, but he could see which way the wind was blowing. I’m glad that he wasn’t a rival. I know Tic’s presence made Xander realize that there were other people interested in Cayman. I was ok with that. There are enough love triangles in YA. LOL
Any final thoughts?
Nath: So true. It’s not that I really wanted a love triangle, it’s just that I would have liked Cayman to be more assertive where Tic was concerned, with her feelings.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Distance Between Us. It wasn’t without flaws, but the writing style and voice, as well as the characters made up for them :) And I think the not knowing, the fumbling feeling just made what Cayman and Xander were going through more real, because it was new for the both of them. I’m giving this book a B :)
Your final thoughts, Ames?
Ames: I’m giving it a B as well. I enjoyed it but some things bothered me. In the end though, I really liked Cayman and Xander. :P